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This second Reconstruction Supplement, following 
the one which dealt with Textiles, likewise examines the 
state of affairs in a great Canadian industry as it affects 
the citizens and workers of this country. 

To repeat what we said in the earlier Foreword — 
the Canadian Legion Educational Services series of 
pamphlets, issued under the general title "Let's Con- 
sider Jobs", outlines for many different occupations the 
training required, the nature and conditions of work, 
the pay and prospects of advancement, etc., for the 
guidance of those who have a choice to make. 

Our Reconstruction Supplements attempt to show 
where the industry as a whole fits in the general 
economic scheme of things in Canada; for the satis- 
faction and security one finds in an occupation will 
depend very largely on whether or not the industry 
itself is in a healthy condition. 

Furthermore, it isn't only the worker in a particular 
industry who needs to consider its resources, organiza- 
tion, wage structure, etc. As each Reconstruction Sup- 
plement will show, these things concern every Canadian, 
because on them depend the prices we pay for its 
products, as well as the levels of wages and employ- 
ment that are maintained in related industries. And all 
August 1945 industries are related! 



We overheard a very well-known scientist say on the 
radio the other day that while this universe is made up 
of countless atoms, there are less than a hundred dif- 
ferent kinds of them. He went on to say that they are 
combined in nature in a large — but limited — number of 
different substances. Man has found out how to com- IMPROVING ON 
bine them in something like two million additional NATURE 
ways, forming new substances with the qualities we 
need, from the explosiveness of RDX to the healing 
ways of sulpha drugs. Nearly all these new substances 
have been formed for the first time in the last hundred 
years. Nearly all of them have been created by 

These chemists are a very obliging lot. Recently, 
when we wanted the most devastating of weapons, they 
gave us the 'jellied gasoline' incendiaries, the block- 
buster and flame-throwers. But they are more willing to 
turn their hands to the making of compounds which UNLIMITED 
keep barnacles off a ship's bottom for six months after VARIETY 
application, or to the fashioning of milady's sheerest 
hosiery. In short, they are in search of methods by 
which the natural materials that come to hand can be 
applied to our use with ever greater precision and 

The chemists are the chief cooks in the confection 
of this host of versatile materials. Following their de- 
tailed directions are nearly a hundred times their num- 
ber of other workers. Together these people compose 
the Chemical Industry. At the height of their work for in WAR 
the European war, in 1943, the industry in Canada em- 
ployed about 93,000 people. Nearly half of these were 
doing jobs directly connected with munitions; they were 
filling shells, making small arms ammunition, depth 
charges, smoke floats, pyrotechnic projectiles, and 
so on. 



But even before the war, about one industrial 
worker in every thirty in Canada (22,000 out of 
642,000) was engaged in the making of chemical prod- 
ucts. In 1939 these workers accounted for over one- 
twentieth of all our manufactured goods — #89,000,000 
worth, out of a total industrial product worth about 

The factories they worked in, some eight hundred 
establishments, and the equipment they worked with, 
were valued at about one-twentieth the total value of all 
Canadian industrial plants and manufacturing equip- 
ment. Plainly this is an industry worth looking into. Its 
possibilities for progress seem almost boundless; a good 
many of us may find ourselves working within it, or in 
closely allied fields; we shall all be buying its wares, 
from teething-rings to false teeth. It refines the salt of 
the earth. 


Growth of the Chemical Industry 
in Canada 

It is not often we remember — as we glance at this 
ink and paper, or set our beer down on an alcohol-proof 
table top, or pull out our pencil to jot down an address, 
or pick up the phone, or fix our gaze on an instrument 
panel or the image of a movie star — that we are dealing 
with things of which the manufacture is largely a 
chemical process. We are also apt to forget, as we en- 
counter these everyday objects, that the processes by 
which we get them were almost unknown in Canada a 
generation ago. 

Building transcontinental railroads meant blasting — 
and lots of it — and so the period of railroad building 
gave the explosives industry its start in this country. 
World War I was the occasion for a far greater in- 
crease in chemical production* 

By 1918 a great number of plants in Canada were 
devoted to the production of the 'staples' in the arma- 
ment maker's shopping-list — still largely bulk explo- 
sives. Within four years of the end of the last war the 
annual production of this industry had shrunk to little 
more than one-fourth the wartime level. In the late 


twenties it recovered some ground by converting its 
facilities to turn out civilian chemicals, like lacquers 
and cellulose products. 

The depression did not hit this industry as hard as 
some, and by 1934 Canadian chemical production was 
climbing again. Not until this war has its total output 
returned to the levels of 1917 and 1918. In 1944 the 
dollar value of output was roughly four times that for 
1939. It is therefoie important, in our discussion of the 
prospects in the chemical industry, to « separate its i^n «# *•» 
normal peacetime activities from its strictly military 




Number of plants 

^ "* 


Capital employed 



Number of employees 

-X 28,000 


Salaries and wages 

$ $38,000,000 


Net Value of product 




How do you distinguish chemical products from others? Try 
out your definition on the following examples: rubber, aluminum, 
gasoline, table salt, baking soda, beer, cement, corn syrup, cheese. 

Is a wartime chemical plant harder or easier to convert for peace- 
time production than a small arms factory, an aircraft factory, a tank- 
building plant? 

What chemical products introduced during the war are likely to 
have continued use in peacetime? 



What do the Chemicals People do? 

It is not very often that the ordinary man goes into 
a shop and asks by name for chemicals, in the way that 
he shops for clothes or food. The work of the chemical 
industry largely comes to us with other people's trade 
marks on it. The share of the nylon producer and the 
dye-maker are not so readily recognized in a pair of 
stockings as are, for instance, the contributions of the 
iron and steel industry to the buyer of an automobile. 
For convenience, then, we shall discuss the industry 
under three headings: 




The makers of acids, salts, alkalis and com- 
pressed gases in bulk quantities. 


These industries transform the basic ingredi- 
ents into the substances familiar to us in the 
show-windows of the druggists, stationery and 
hardware stores — paints, soaps, inks, plastics, 


A host of manufacturers who use large 
amounts of chemicals to improve products 
which are mainly animal or vegetable in origin 
— paper, leather, rubber, fruit, meat, confec- 
tions and so on. 

What are Basic Chemicals? 

At the very core of the whole chemical industry are 
the plants which produce sulphuric acid, which has 
been called the 'King of Chemicals'. It has been manu- 
factured in Canada since 1867. It is basic to the pro- 
cessing of metals, and the manufacture of plastics, 

fertilizers, explosives, and high-octane gasoline, among 
many other materials. In peacetime, this versatile 
chemical tops the list for tonnage produced; in 
Canada, since 1939 the output of sulphuric acid has in- 
creased threefold. Production of this acid is sometimes 
used as a gauge of industrial development; we may note 
that from 1923 to 1938 Canadian production rose from 
87,000 tons to 268,000, and that in 1943 our production 
was proportionately at least as high as that of the 
United States. 




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£62 Miilttin 


Y T« iHliUQn 

fiiu million 


$6 Million 

t * ** 

mnoms, salaries and wages 

§ & § 


Iff Iff Iff Iff Iff iff iff Iff ff 

Si? Million 

f 27 Million 


i o 010 i i i 1 i i i i 

1 < 

$88 Million 

Sulphuric acid was the only basic chemical made in 
more than one or two plants in Canada before the war; 
there were three in British Columbia, three in Ontario, 
and one in Nova Scotia. Three more plants have been 
built during the war: two in Quebec and one in Ontario. 

Nitric and hydrochloric acids, liquids ammonia and 
chlorine, glycerine, alcohol, metallic salts and a long 
list of complex ingredients for cleansing agents and 
plastics are the other major items in our heavy chemi- 
cals output. The basic producers also turn out com- 
pressed gases, such as acetylene, oxygen and carbon 

dioxide; these are used for welding, food processing 
and in many other ways. All these basic chemicals are 
derived more or less directly from natural resources 
like coal, metallic ores, oil, limestone, and air. Source- 
materials of growing importance to chemists — and 
abundant in Canada — are the products of the field and 
forest; grains, milk and wood. 




What do we mean: Chemical Converting? 

Very few of us, from one year's end to the other, go 
out to buy basic chemicals (unless we invest in a storage 
battery filled with sulphuric acid solution). But we are 
all familiar with their offspring, the secondary products 
of the industry. The factories making soap, paint, 
patent medicines, fertilizer, disinfectants and ammuni- 
tion use up a great deal of heavy chemicals, as the 
chart shows. 

The peacetime plants in this group are likely to be 
smaller, and to be a little more thickly populated than 
are the basic producing units. A comparison of the 
production and employment figures in chemical con- 
verting with those for the basic group (on page 7) 
will show that the valuable plants, large payrolls, better 
wages and more important products are to be found in 
the former. 


Who are the main Consumers 
of Chemicals? 

Aside from those plants which convert bulk chem- 
icals into goods we can all use, there is another group 
of industries which we should mention. They are not, 
properly speaking, chemical industries at all; indeed 
some of them are worthy of examination in their own 
right. But they appear at this point because they loom 
so large as buyers of chemical products. These they em- 
ploy in the treatment of a great variety of non-chemical 
products, from morning papers to evening gowns. 
Some idea of the scale on which these manufacturers 
buy chemical products may be seen by a glance at their 
bills for the year 1943. 


What is it like to work with Chemicals? 

We are concerned for the moment with the kinds of 
work available in the chemical industry, rather than 
with the intricacies of chemistry itself. 

A typical plant is (to the uninitiated) a jungle of 
tanks, vats, furnaces, towers and pipes. Under watch- 
ful eyes, a multitude of thermometers, gauges and 
other instruments enable the transformation of materials 
to be controlled. 

Work in chemicals is broadly divided between work JJPJ^JJ '^ 
in the laboratories or in the plant. 

In the labs themselves there is a division of work 
between the Research Staff and the Control Staff. 

The research people comprise both research chem- 
ists and lab technicians. The former are the highly 
trained Ph.D's or M. Sc's who plan and carry through 
research projects. The technicians are people with less 
formal training who do everything from washing ap- 
paratus to performing simple routine analyses. 




Paints, etc. 

^tm i i i | i § | 

o i 


I$fa. i i i i i i i 


Medicines, etc. 

^^ ooooooo 


Soaps, etc. 

£^ i 


B0 i 

laeh O equals two million dollars 

The control staff are concerned with seeing that the 
finished products are of uniform quality. They do rou- 
tine analyses on intermediate products as well as of raw 
materials and finished products. They may be B.Sc's or 
chemical engineers — with students and technicians 
under them. 

In the plant — as distinct from the research staff — 
there are at the top the executives whose job it is to 
plan and co-ordinate the different phases of production. 
Most plant executives have had training in chemical 
engineering and years of practical experience. Under 
them come what may be called plant operators, most 
of whom are also chemical engineers, in charge of some 
particular stage in the production cycle. 

All these people require some special skills and 

knowledge. At the same time the industry uses un- 
^kii i Fn ANn 
UNSKILLED skilled and semi-skilled labour — people who do a wide 

variety of jobs about the plant, from driving a truck to 

operating a machine or packaging the finished products. 


moe Of CHEMICALS COHSOMiD (1943) lit: 

Pulp & Paper 

£^ o o o g y o m 






JL ™ — n n s n o n 




Meat Packing 
& Shortening 

lif£$ iiiiiii 




Bread, Biscuits, etc. 

/ ^o 000 i i 

Leather Coeds 

Sta iiii 

*«***' SO y o e 

fruit & Vegetable KSSi 

Each g?| equals one million dollars 


No. 16 

A\Js' Ur 


August 18, 1945 


TN June the officers of the Department of Veterans Affairs kept score 
-*■ on what 15,754 service personnel intended to do next, as they 
put up their discharge buttons. Of course, many veterans soon change 
their minds; but here, at a glance, is what these fifteen-thousand-odd 
set out to do: 


























Replying to 
your Inquiry... 


My older brother and I have planned for a number of years to go into business together, starting 
a small industry in -partnership. He is not a veteran, but he is an experienced technician; I 
have considerable training in administration and accounting. 

In such a case could we have financial assistance from the Government in the form of a loarft 
Would the conditions be similar to those specified for farmers or fishermen? 

— L/Cpl, rcapc, cao/s. 

There are just two provisions in the rehabilitation program which apply to a veteran 
going into business. The first is that he can use his re-establishment credit to pur- 
chase a business for himself, if he puts up one dollar out of his own pocket for each two 
dollars drawn from the re-establishment credit; if he already owns a business he can 
draw his re-establishment credit to use as working capital. The second provision is 
that while awaiting returns from the business he may draw an allowance of up to $50 
a month for a single man, or $70 a month for man and wife, with additional amounts 
for each child, for a limited period. But before going ahead with the project, he must 
get the approval of the local advisory committee of business men, which will decide 
whether he has a reasonable chance of succeeding. 

The policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs is to see each and every veteran 
securely established on his own, his fortunes not tied in with anyone else's. Hence 
a partnership is not encouraged, even with another veteran. 

Loans to veterans going into business are not provided by the government. If the 
proposition appears sound, a local bank may be ready to advance money. For certain 
types of enterprise, such as "manufacturing, processing or refrigeration of goods, 
wares or merchandise", the Industrial Development Bank, with head office in Mont- 
real, may under certain conditions make or guarantee a loan. 


If a private has $450 gratuity due him on his discharge, and his monthly pay and dependents* 
allowances total $92, would $92 then be the monthly instalment of his gratuity until the $450 
is absorbed, or is subsistence allowance added, which would raise the monthly instalment to 
$129.50? — W/O II, Monteith, Ont. 

The latter is correct; War Service Gratuity is paid in instalments equal to the amount 
of pay and allowances for the month before discharge, including subsistence allowance, 
even though it was not actually received. 



How do they work? How do they affect YOUR future ? They are all part of Canada's 
Rehabilitation Program, designed to help you on the road ahead. Keep informed. Send 
in your questions to Editor, Civvy Street News, Wartime Information Board, Ottawa* 

Extra copies off Civvy Street News are available on request. 
Contents may be reprinted with or without acknowledgment. 


I am a farmer s son but I dorit think my health will he good enough now for full. time farming. 
I'd like to take a course in -poultry-raising and then get a small holding under the V.L.A. Could 
I get an allowance while awaiting returns from this undertaking! How much of a grant or loan 
would be available for buying stock and equipment at first? — Pte, 4 VRD, RCOC, England. 

One of the main requirements in the case of a veteran applying for a small holding is 
that he should not depend entirely on what he can produce on his few acres : he should 
have a job near by, or be receiving a pension or some other regular income. In the 
case of a pensioner, if any vocational training grants or "awaiting returns*' grants 
were payable, they would be reduced according to the amount of the pension. Of 
course, a "small-holder" with a paying job would not qualify for such grants. 

Under the V.L.A. , up to $1,200 worth of livestock and equipment may be provided 
with a small holding. 


I wish to take a course at the Ontario Veterinary College at Guelph, fifteen miles from my home. 
If I live at home with my wife and daughter •, I believe we can manage on the monthly grant. 
Would it be possible in that case for me to draw the transportation allowance of up to »-$5 a week 
which is provided for students! — S/Sgt, Petawawa, Ont. 

If you are going to take a regular university course leading to a degree, you are not 
eligible for the transportation allowance. This allowance is provided only for students 
taking vocational or technical courses. 


I want to buy or build a house immediately after my discharge. If I utilise my Re-establishment 
Credit for this, can I, at a later date, repay the amount I have used out of my Re-establishment 
Credit and build another place under the Veterans' Land Act? 

— Capt, No. 1 Cdn Reception Depot, CAO/S. 

If the Re-establishment Credit has been used wholly or in part and later an application 
is made for benefits under the Veterans' Land Act, such benefits may be granted, but 
adjustment must be made to compensate for the credit already received. Of course 
each case is dealt with individually; before making definite plans you should discuss 
the whole matter with your counsellor at the discharge centre. 


been released from war industries since 
V-E Day, yet there is an over-all labour 
shortage at present of 130,000 workers. 
About half the labour employed in direct 
war production has already been absorbed 
in civilian production. Mass meetings of 
war-workers in Vancouver and Toronto 
have protested against being laid off while 
their plants are reconverted for peacetime 

at present over 500 veterans, a quarter of 
its entire personnel. 

tions have joined forces to help returning 
veterans find lodgings in the city, and to 
agitate for more action on the housing 
problem. Over 400 pre-fabricated dwell- 
ings, to rent at $22 to $30 a month, will 
shortly be provided by the city. 

In Cornwall, Ont., 50 new homes of per- 
manent construction are to be built by an 
arrangement between the city and Wartime 
Housing Ltd., a Crown company. They 
will be grouped together on the former 
Fair Grounds, and the first dwellings will 
be ready for occupation by next January. 
A two-bedroom house with living-room, 
kitchen and bath will rent for $22 a month; 
for a three-bedroom house the rent will be 
$27.50, and for four bedrooms, $30. Vet- 
erans will have first choice on all the 
houses, and only after their needs are fully 
met will any be rented to non-veterans. 

the McGill University summer session. 
According to the director of courses, the 
veterans showed keener interest than the 
regular students. 


make classrooms, students' living quarters, 
and extensive engineering laboratories out 
of the buildings which it has leased at the 
Ajax shell-filling plant at Pickering, Ont. 
These will provide accommodation for a 
large number of veterans who have en- 
rolled at the university. 

both officers and other ranks, who wish to 
leave the service for the purpose of estab- 
lishing homes, will be given the opportu- 
nity for early discharge, if exigencies of the 
service permit. 


university courses should inform their 
chosen university as early as possible, so 
that provision can be made for the probable 
number of students. Many Canadian univer- 
sities will admit veterans this year not only 
at the regular registration date, but also 
each month throughout the term. 

manager, three ex-servicemen and several 
other civilians are being prosecuted for 
working various rackets at the expense of 
ex-servicemen, involving the misuse of 
reestablishment credit. 

Labour goes on step by step. Of the gov- 
ernment man-power controls still in force, 
those which limit a worker's freedom to 
move from one job to another will be drop- 
ped in September, except in the case of 
agriculture. Farm workers will not be 
free to turn to other employment until 
about the middle of November, when the 
harvest is in. 

After November, the only controls to 
continue will be those which are essential 
to maintain an efficient national employ- 
ment service. A man must get a permit 
from the Employment Office before taking 
a new job; he must not quit or be fired 
without seven days' notice; employers 
must report all vacancies to the nearest 
Employment Office, where workers also 
must register if unemployed over seven 
days; and anyone leaving Canada to work 
elsewhere must get a Labour Exit Permit. 

The job-permit regulation will be dropped 
as soon as possible; for the present it is 
useful in the orderly placement of war- 
workers and veterans. 



We have already seen that many chemicals are 
turned out in Canada by only one or two or three FEW MAKERS 
plants. Why is this? To begin with, there is an enor- 
mous variety of chemical products to be made. Contrast y ™I T ™ 
this with textiles. The whole textile industry in Canada 
weaves only two or three curtain fabrics in quantity; 
among chemical manufacturers one company alone 
makes five distinct kinds of quick-drying enamel. For 
some chemicals there are several possible source- 
materials and processes, depending on where the pro- 
ducts are in demand. More important in Canada, most 
of the processes call for expensive and specialized 
equipment. To be economical, a plant must produce in 
fairly large quantities. A relatively small market like 
Canada cannot keep many plants busy turning out 
identical specialized products. 

Finally, while the fundamental recipes for most of 
these substances are well-known to all chemists, the de- crror-rc 
tails of efficient commercial production — short-cuts WELL-KEPT 
that make all the difference between a successful chem- 
ical business and a layout of the Rube Goldberg sort — 
are closely guarded under the patent laws. 

It is no secret that chemical know-how in the earlier 
part of this century was a prize possession of German 
industry. Many of the tricks of the trade used by Im- 
perial Chemical Industries in the United Kingdom, by 
DuPont de Nemours in the United States, and by their 
jointly controlled Canadian Industries Limited, were 
first discovered by the technicians of such firms as I. G. 
Farbenindustrie in Germany. Within the past 20 yeans, 
the United States, the United Kingdom, and the 
U.S.S.R. have been more than holding their own. 


What does it mean to the Common Man? 

The result of this concentration of production in a 
few companies is that if you want bulk hydrogen 
peroxide for your own business, there is practically 
speaking only one place in Canada to get it. 

"Of course," someone says, "the bulk buyer of 
chemicals pays through the nose to the sole makers of 
many of his purchases. But who intends to be a bulk 
DO WE PAY TOO buyer of chemicals?" Any member of your group 
MUCH- knows the answer: ultimately we all pay through the 

nose for those same substances transformed into tooth- 
brushes and high-test gasoline. So this matter of con- 
trol of the chemical market merits some discussion. 

What limits Prices of Chemicals? 

The owners of many production secrets point out 
that it is unsound to jump to conclusions about this 
situation. It doesn't automatically lead to sky-high 
prices. With some chemicals, the only alternative to a 
single Canadian producer would be no Canadian pro- 
PRO AND CON ducer at all: in that case Canadian users of these ma- 
terials would have to pay shipping charges from other 
countries. Other materials, while available from a small 
number of closely related Canadian sources, are actually 
priced in competition with quite different products 
which can be made to do many of the same jobs. 

There are other ways in which some chemical manu- 
facturers are constrained from playing fast and loose 
with their prices, if they wanted to. A few of the patents 
PUBLIC belong to public authorities, because they were discov- 

RESEARCH ered by public or university laboratories. (Insulin was 

an example of the latter type). We could broaden the 
control of valuable technical knowledge by expanding 
these institutions, about which we'll say more presently. 
The production of many chemicals, notably in the 
food and drug fields, is subject to rigid control by 
health authorities. With notable exception of synthetic 
vitamin processing, there is freer competition in the 
pharmaceutical branch of the industry than in most 
other branches. 


Also, it should be mentioned that it is the rare 
manufacturer who is inclined to risk killing his single LONG-TERM 
goose that lays golden chemical eggs. 



Do New Discoveries change the Picture? 

There is another threat to the secret-process goose 
besides over-doing it. She may die a natural death, if a 
better way to turn out the same product, or a way to 
turn out a better product of the same purpose is dis- 
covered. The people most likely to make such discov- 
eries are clearly the people in the chemicals business — 
the bigger the operator, the more rapidly he is likely 
to out-distance his rivals. But once in a while a small or 
independent chemist works out an important improve- 
ment. There may follow a scramble by the firms af- 
fected by the new process to out-bid each other for it. 
If a firm buys a patent process for $5,000, knowing that |y^y ^qj *„ 
they would have to spend twenty times that much on USED 
the new plant it requires, it's anyone's guess how soon 
the general public may receive the benefits of the dis- 
covery. The reckoning is more financial than technical. 

Chemicals come in Chains, 

It's not at all uncommon in production to find that 
you are producing several by-products as well as the 
product you want. That is true of a good many pro- 
cesses in the chemical industry. And it leads to some 
interesting results. A primary producer may find it 
profitable to try to control the uses of his primary 
chemicals, so as to develop along with them economic 
processes involving his other products. For instance, $HE GREW AND 
the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Co. at Trail, SHE GREW 
B.C. (a subsidiary of the C.P.R.) had difficulty dis- 
posing of sulphur dioxide fumes, which were a by- 
product of their smelting operations. So they set up a 
sulphuric acid plant. Sulphuric acid in turn, is useful 
in the making of ammonium sulphate for fertilizer. 
That created an interesting 'chain'. The railway 
handles much of the freight to and from that region. 
It also manages one of the Commonwealth's largest 


non-ferrous smelters and sells back to the farmers, as a 
by-product, thousands of tons of fertilizer. 

Possibly the most impressive chain of chemical 
plants in Canada are the twenty-five run by Canadian 
Industries Limited, the ownership of which was pre- 
viously mentioned. Its divisions give an idea of the 
range of its activities; they are: General Chemical, Or- 
ganic Chemical, Ammunition, Explosives, Fertilizer, 
Salt, Alkali, Paint and Varnish, Plastics, Nylon, "Cello- 
phane" and "Fabrikpid". In basic chemicals and chem- 
ical converting it dominates the field. 

These examples are only given as two of several. It 
is undoubtedly true that this type of close control 
over a long chain of processes is of great technical ad- 
vantage. As to the social problems raised, your group 
may have varying views* 

What if the Chain is International? 

Our subject is chemicals, and not world finance. But 
this industry — because of the concentration of technical 
knowledge, the intimate relations between primary pro- 
A GLANCE AT ducers and chemical converters, the elaborate plant re- 
quired, and the other factors we have discussed — is 
characterized by agreements regarding ownership and 
marketing which are not limited by national boundaries. 
These arrangements are known as 'cartels'. 

Through cartels a great deal of job-giving know- 
ledge enters Canada. On the other hand, they may hold 
back the logical development of some of the natural 
wealth of Canada, or the export of Canadian products 
to other countries. They can be arranged to affect the 
prices we must pay for an enormous variety of common 
things. For chemistry enters into almost every kind of 

It is very difficult to prove that these are (or are 
not) the results of any particular cartel. It is sometimes 
difficult to find out if a cartel exists at all. But where 
such arrangements exist, they are bound to affect our 
jobs and our living standards to some degree. 

It is plainly in the public interest that the causes and 
effects of cartels be made known* The result for 



Canadians of an international ^gentlemen's agreement' 
on the production and price of a fertilizer is perhaps at 
least as far-reaching as would be a similar arrangement 
on the manufacture and sale of beer. Should the pro- neeqeq 
duction and marketing of essential chemicals also be 
regulated by public boards? The first need is to deter- 
mine the facts of the case. 

How about Research? 

Because of the extreme importance to Canadian in- 
dustry — and the chemical business especially — of the 
intelligence branch of industry with its headquarters in 
our research laboratories, a whole discussion period 
could be devoted to that subject alone. That is pre- 
cisely what CANADIAN AFFAIRS proposes you 
should do. A regular issue will shortly be devoted to 
the contributions a Canadian scientific program can 
make to our prosperity, health, convenience and 


1939 1941 1943 

Male 493c. 56.6c, 67.8c. 
Female 28.9c. 34.3c. 41.9c. 

average weeniy BARRINGS 

Mate $22.25 $28.38 $33.42 
Female $12.51 $16.40 $19.16 




We may be sure that the possessors of patents have 
exploited them to advantage. Indeed the leading Cana- 
dian company in the chemical field has in twenty years 
multiplied its equipment several times over, and has also 
paid its shareholders a handsome percentage of their 

How about the workers in Canadian chemical 
plants? The best-paid men among them are now in the 
munition plants, and in the basic chemicals industries. 
The best-paid women are almost all in the armament 
end of the business. Except for those groups, no class 
of chemical workers is up to the average for manu- 
facturing employees; no group of workers in the peace- 
time converting industries ranked anywhere in the first 
forty manufacturing industries, graded by average 
wage-levels. (The table on page 15 shows the Canadian 
average hourly and weekly earnings in all chemical and 
allied industries in 1939, 1941 and 1943.) In 1942 — a 
peak year — the average annual earnings were: male 
#1,550; female #1,000, approximately. 


How are the Chemical Workers 

Many people who work with chemicals are employed 
by companies whose chief products are not chemicals. 
They may belong to the unions of paper or food or 
metal or textile workers. Thus the organizations of 
chemical workers are not very large, their total mem- 
bership being perhaps 4,000. The organization of 
technicians and professional employees in Canada is not 
so far advanced as it is in the United Kingdom. It 
would not be true to say that the managements of Cana- 
dian chemical firms have adopted any single attitude 
concerning the organization of their workers. Many 
other industries have a record of struggle on this ques- 
tion longer and more bitter than that of the chemical 


# ^ 


We saw that nearly 100,000 Canadians had found 
employment making chemical and allied products be- 
fore the climax of the European war. More than 50,000 
of those jobs will now dissolve with the defeat of Japan; LAY-OFFS 
we cannot hope to re-absorb in peacetime chemical 
plants all those who have worked entirely on munitions, 
since they entered the industry over the past six years. 

How many Jobs after the War? 

On the brighter side, there has been since 1939 * 
substantial increase — perhaps ten or fifteen thousand — 
in the number of workers in the other branches of the 
industry. Will all those jobs remain open? The answer 
must be guesswork. We have seen that the main markets 
for chemicals in Canada are in other industries. There 
is good reason to believe that the more important of 
these customers for chemicals — the manufacturers of HOPE FOR THE 
paper, textiles, paints, agricultural supplies — will be FUTURE 
very active in the reconstruction period. From that be- 
lief the leaders of the chemical industry predict that 
they will be able to hold their wartime gains in payrolls 
other than munition-workers. After a few years the 
number of workers in normal chemical plants may begin 
a gradual increase, as commercial uses are found for 
some of our wartime chemicals and chemical plants. 

What does this offer the Veteran? 

It should be recalled that a large number of the 
workers on munitions are women, many of whom will 

Published for use as discussion material in the Canadian Armed 

Forces. Distributed to civilian groups through the Canadian 

Council of Education for Citizenship. May be reprinted for 

similar purposes, with or without acknowledgment. 







not want further industrial employment. They will want 
husbands and babies. The manufacturers of chemical 
goods also believe that the forces will provide them with 
more capable workers to replace some who were en- 
gaged when the severest shortages of manpower ob- 
tained. But it's easy to see that Canada's employment 
problems aren't going to be solved by simply releasing 
war workers and hiring veterans in their place. 

How about Exports? 

While tons of Canadian chemicals have long been 
exported in the wares of other manufacturers, the 
market abroad for Canadian chemicals as such is sub- 
ject to many drawbacks. Many heavy chemicals pose 
irksome problems of handling — special tank-cars and 
containers, for instance. The best place to make chem- 
icals is determined by the location of: 

(<?) Source-materials 

(Jb) Power supply 

(c) Purchasers 

Is Canada a World source of Chemicals? 

Broadly speaking, Canada is adequately provided 
with mineral and vegetable source materials. But in 
few instances does she hold a world-commanding posi- 
tion in chemical resources. We are very well fixed for 
electric power; but less handsomely endowed with coal, 
on which large sections of the chemical work of the 
world is based. 

Perhaps, aside from transport difficulties, the great- 
est over-all barrier to larger Canadian exports of chem- 
icals is the fact that wherever we try to peddle our 
chemicals abroad, we run into competition with Im- 
perial Chemicals or Dupont, who jointly own our major 
producer, or with I.G. Farben, who in peacetime con- 
trolled the use of the biggest single share of the 

All in all, it would be very rash to count on sub- 
stantial gains in the export of Canadian chemicals, un- 
less and until the United Nations together work out 
some basis for the distribution and control of chemical 



goods different from the arrangements employed in 
the past. 

We usually imported slightly more chemical goods 
(by value) than we exported in the years before the 
war. The chemicals we sold across our boundaries were 
nearly all embedded in goods of other shapes and bear- 
ing other names — notably our primary exports, pulp 
and paper and food. 

What's the answer? 

The answer is indefinite — as answers to these ques- 
tions usually are. All we can offer is an indication of 
trends — of what is likely to happen if something else 
doesn't happen. 

That doesn't mean the picture is a dark one. The 
future in chemicals, like the future of other industries, 
is bound up in the problem of full employment in 
Canada as a whole — and that in turn depends to a con- A WORLD-WIDE 
siderable extent on the breaking down of barriers to 
world trade and the maintenance of world peace. It is 
against that kind of background that Canada's chemical 
industry has to be studied. 


In the past twenty years whai has happened to the prices of 
chemical products familiar to you? (e.g. fertilizers, soap, medicines.) 

Who benefits and who loses through cartel arrangements? 

Do you think there are opportunities for small independent 
operators in the field of chemicals? Why, or why not? 

What are Canada's principal assets as a producer of chemicals? 

Should chemical workers — unskilled, technical, professional — 
belong to a trade union? 


CANADIAN AFFAIRS Reconstruction Supplements are intended for those in 
the Services who want to discuss realistically the Canada in which they will 
work after the war. The Supplements are prepared hy the Wartime Informa- 
tion Board and will appear fortnightly, alternating with the regular issue of